death in my grass

September 22nd, 2005

I watched an animal die in my front yard yesterday.

I was walking toward my house after visiting the mailbox when I saw an animal laying in the grass. At first I thought it was a cat, but it was a possum. It was breathing deeply but laying very still and surrounded by flies. After walking by very slowly to make sure it didn’t jump up and get me, I got my cell phone to call darek.

He looked up a number for some wildlife place, but when I called them they told me to call animal control. I looked that up in the phone book but accidentally called Addison’s twice (it doesn’t take much for me to get really disorganized).

The possum’s breathing had slowed down by the time I finally called the right number. Then he had a sort of spasm and his back leg stretched out twice. I took a few steps back in case he jumped up, but he didn’t.

Then he was very still and stopped breathing.

It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever witnessed “in real life.” If it had been dead when I first saw it, my first reaction probably would have been “ew” followed by “what am I supposed to do with that?” and then finally “poor little guy.” But to actually watch it take its last breath was very sad. Even though it was just a possum.

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